July 22, 2009
Last weekend, I traveled with four girlfriends to Napa Valley, California for a weekend of wine and relaxation. On Friday, we hired a driver to take us to wineries throughout the area. We started our day at the world-famous Domaine Chandon for a bit of bubbly, and then took our driver Larry’s recommendations for the remainder of the day. At our last stop of the day, we found ourselves swept away at O’Brien Estate. On the ride there, Larry briefly told us the story of the O’Briens, and how they visited the vineyard on one of their first dates over 20 years ago and now own the vineyard together. Their mission is to spread their passion for love, romance and wine to everyone who may visit.
When we first walked in, we had the fortune of meeting Mr. O’Brien himself. He took us through the story of how he met the love of his life, his wife, and how they came into the love of their lives, the winery. They have a philosophy about love and have a built their business around it. They suggest that there are five stages that all couples go through, which include flirtation, attraction, seduction, romance of the heart, and reflection. They have dedicated each phase of love to a different type of wine, each reflecting the notes and tones that the phase expresses. Then, on the back of each bottle is a poem written by either Mr. or Mrs. O’Brien. You can buy the wines individually, or in a three or five-bottle gift set which can be engraved for special occasions like weddings and anniversaries.
I’m not sure if it was the three stops and ample sampling we did before hand, but my girlfriends and I ate it all up like a bunch of lovesick puppies. We sampled each wine, grew teary-eyed as Mr. O’Brien read us the poems, and found ourselves in the cellar eating cheese plates and pondering questions of love with other random visitors who found themselves in the O’Brien trance.
The next day, we questioned our time at O’Brien. Could it all have been a hoax? Could people really be that in love? Could we ever imagine ourselves in that kind of love? What’s for sure is that we all fell in love with the idea of love, and left O’Brien Estate with a case of wine to show for it. Theirs, my friends, is a recipe for success.